Trump extends Iran sanctions relief; oil trades near session highs

The landmark 2015 deal curbed Iran's nuclear ambitions in return for the relaxing of punishing sanctions

"We know the European Union and other powers want to keep the nuclear deal, nearly no matter what", David Pollock, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Xinhua.

The United States meant to work with its European partners on a follow-on agreement which enshrines certain "triggers" that Iran can not exceed related to ballistic missiles and inspections, said senior Trump administration officials on Friday while briefing reporters about Trump's decision.

The 14 Iranian individuals and entities sanctioned Friday include a notorious prison and members of the Islamic Republic's judiciary who have sentenced dissidents to death.

The waivers were accompanied by other non-nuclear sanctions and a stern warning that Trump will pull out of the deal if the fixes aren't made.

What are the new sanctions?

It also said Iran would not allow the deal to be linked to other issues, after Trump suggested that the sanctions relief under the deal be tied to Iran limiting its long-range ballistic missile program.

The new sanctions announced Friday focus on Iranian entities involved in the crackdown on recent protests in Iran. Reimposing sanctions would mean violating the Iran nuclear deal on the U.S. side.

The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday criticised the fresh sanctions imposed by the USA by calling them illegal and hostile, and warned that they would receive a serious reaction by the Islamic republic.

In a White House background call on Friday, senior administration officials confirmed that President Donald Trump will waive sanctions on Friday one last time.

What is the nuclear deal?

European powers have urged the United States not to abandon the 2015 agreement with Iran that limits its nuclear programme, saying it is making the world safer.

In return, decades of worldwide and U.S. nuclear-related sanctions were suspended.

USA regulations require the president to endorse JCPOA every 90 days and extend waivers of economic sanctions against Iran every 120 days.

What does Mr Trump want to change? Trump has complained that numerous Iranian restrictions expire next decade and has vacillated between talk of toughening the deal and pulling the USA out entirely.

Trump yesterday gave an ultimatum to "either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw".

To fix what he described "disastrous flaws" in the deal, Trump demanded that Iran be denied "all paths to a nuclear weapon not just for 10 years, but forever", and that Tehran allow "immediate inspections at all sites requested by global inspectors".

That keeps the landmark 2015 nuclear deal alive for at least another several months, despite Trump's past vows to scuttle the accord.

But Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the 2015 deal could not be renegotiated. Iranian officials have said they are not interested in any renegotiation.

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